Articles & FAQs

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Q:  I would like to get a Japanese futon. How much should I expect it to cost?

A:  That depends on how much you want to spend! If all you need is a cheap shikibuton, $75 and you’re good to go. If you’re looking to get a nice and high quality traditional setup, you should plan between $500 and $1400 depending on size and features. For those considering a more modern look like a Japanese platform bed, it’s fair to prepare for anywhere between $500 and $2500+. Point being, you can spend as little or as much as you’d like to fit your situation and preferences (well, at least your situation. I would prefer that I drove a Ferrari… but we don’t always get what we prefer).

Q:  I would like to get a Japanese futon. Where should I get one?

A:  That’s kind of what this site is about, so surf around! If you’re wondering on a general level, I made a nifty business directory on where to buy a Japanese futon. You should check it out!

Q:  I really like the idea of a Japanese futon, but the practice of taking it out at night and putting it away each day seems like a lot of work. Do I have to do that? Would it still be a good idea to get one if I don’t?

A:  Just to make sure we’re on the same page, the Japanese don’t lay out their futons each night and fold them away each day because it’s loads of fun. They do it because space is limited and it prevents mold and bed bugs from colonizing on the mattress. If you’re not willing to take care of a traditional shikibuton in the way that it needs, it’s probably best not to get one. A Japanese platform bed might be a better fit for you.

Q:  What about sheets? You don’t have any recommendations for sheets. Where can I buy sheets for a Japanese futon?

A:  That’s because Japanese futons don’t have sheets! Sheets are a Western thing (more specifically, a United States thing). The kakebuton is basically a duvet, so no sheets are necessary. Of course, you’re welcome to use a sheet to help protect and cover the shikibuton, but any sheet will do. If you’re thinking more along the lines of a Japanese platform bed, you can use a kakebuton as your comforter, or simply consider it a bed and pick any bedding set you want.

Q:  I / my significant other has back problems. Is it a good idea for me / my significant other to sleep on a Japanese futon?

A:  While I am also guilty of asking the internet medical questions, that is really something I cannot answer and you will have to consult a doctor. The closest thing that I can share with you is this study that suggests the use of futons may play a part in keeping the Japanese elderly active and leading healthy lives, as opposed to Western beds.

Q:  Once I get a Japanese futon, how do I clean it? What about tatami too?

A:  You read the tag of course! The short answer is, if it’s machine-washable, you wash it. If not, you vacuum it and / or beat it with a paddle (no joke), then leave it out to dry in the sun. Tatami can also be vacuumed, then wiped down with a damp cloth. For a more thorough explanation check out this sweet infographic on Japanese futon and tatami care. It’s cool, I promise.

Q:  I’m planning to stay at a ryokan / I kind of just fold my futon until it looks good. Is there a proper way to fold a Japanese futon? If so, how?

A:  Here’s an article I wrote on how to fold a Japanese futon. It’s meant for your personal futon but can apply to ryokan visits as well.

Q:  Will (insert product here) fit with (insert other product here)?

A:  It’s safe to assume that same-brand products will fit together smoothly (i.e. a J-Life kakebuton will match in size with a J-Life shikibuton, and an Oriental Furniture tatami mat will fit in an Oriental Furniture tatami bed). Beyond that, you’ll have to break out the measuring tape or contact the retailer to be 100% sure.

Q:  I’m more of a visual learner. Do you have any videos?

A:  Sure do. Visit the video gallery.